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Self - Perineal Massage

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What is it? And what are the benefits for child birth?

A perineal massage is a gentle massage that prepares the perineum, the area between the vagina and the rectum, for birth. The perineum is stretched during childbirth, and often will tear. This massage promotes the elasticity of the lower regions of the cervix causing the tissues to be more supple, which improves the overall flexibility of the area making it easier for the tissues to stretch as the baby is born.

A perineal massage also familiarizes the mother with the stretching sensations she will feel as the baby is born. This helps her learn to keep her perineal area relaxed during the stretching of crowning which can help prevent tears.

It has been shown to reduce the incidence of episiotomy and perineal tears during childbirth.

To perform a perineal massage, follow these steps:

1. Wash and sanitize your hands, and trim your nails.
- Find a warm, comfortable area to sit.
- Use a mirror to find your perineum, to see what it looks like. A full length mirror works best.

2. Apply a natural lubricant such as Virgin Coconut Oil, Vitamin E oil, massage oil or pure vegetable oil to your thumbs and the perineum.
- Insert your thumbs into the vagina and spread your legs.
- Press downward and pull towards the sides. You will feel a tingling or burning, but you should not feel any large amount of pain.

3. Hold this press for about 2 minutes.

4. Rub your perineum between your thumb and forefingers back and forth for one minute.

5. After you’re comfortable and have mastered the technique, add kegel exercises to the process.

You can begin to do this massage around the 34th week of your pregnancy. If you are further along and haven\'t started, there is still benefit from doing it. You can do this massage as often as once a day.

Caution: Avoid pressure at the top of the vaginal opening. Massage gently as forceful massage could cause bruising or swelling. Do not massage if there is active vaginal infection or herpes lesions as you could spread the herpes infection to other areas.

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